|2008, 40 weeks pregnant, wearing non-maternity jersey long sleeve tee from Gap|
Buying maternity clothes can be tricky. It's a relatively short time (though it sometimes doesn't feel like it) - how much do you spend, what do you really need? I figure third pregnancy in, I can probably help with a few tips. (Of course, I've only had single pregnancies, expecting twins or more can be a whole different story.)
1. BUY: Maternity vests (or singlets, if you're reading this in Australia). Each pregnancy I've gone to H&M and bought 4 white and 2 black vests (see photo below) and then have worn one pretty much every day - not only through most of my pregnancy, but also through all of breastfeeding. The ones I like don't have support but are extra long and perfect for layering. I also found them perfect for breastfeeding allowing me to pull up my outer layer and simply pull the top bit of the vest aside ensuring my tummy was always covered. (There's really no need for extra fastenings and snaps which just become annoying - and please, avoid anything that is fussy or complicated. Keep it simple.) Unfortunately the ones I like from H&M aren't available online but when I bought some in-store a few weeks ago, they were £3.99 each - and they are organic cotton. A similar vest, in lots of different colours, is available from New Look here.
|2008 - 31 weeks pregnant, wearing maternity vest from H&M.|
2. BUY: Correctly fitting bras. Get re-fitted regularly during your pregnancy as you can increase in size really quickly (and beyond all expectations!) I would say at 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 30 weeks and then just towards the end for nursing bras (if you're planning to breastfeed). Fortunately I have bigger sized bras from my previous pregnancy so I haven't had to go out and buy any this time, but it's really important for comfort (as not only do your breasts increase in size, but your ribcage expands later in pregnancy) - and from an aesthetic point of view, it's much better for your silhouette if you're wearing properly fitted, supportive bras. One more thing - the first time I was pregnant I was told I shouldn't wear underwire bras later in pregnancy, however the NHS states there is no evidence to support this and as long as the bra is properly fitting, there is no reason not to wear underwire (page 11 - pdf document).
3: BUY: Maternity jeans/trousers/leggings/tights. I've been wearing maternity jeans for a few weeks now (since 16 weeks, although first pregnancy I didn't need them until 20 weeks) and they're definitely an essential. As I've written before, I prefer the full panel type (I'm currently wearing them with belts) as I've found the demi panel impossible to keep up later in pregnancy. (See my review of maternity jeans from H&M here). Tights are also important as I found my normal tights feeling too tight and uncomfortable very early on.
4: DON'T BUY: Maternity tops. At least, don't buy them until you really, really need them. During my first and second pregnancies, apart from a couple of shirts for work I didn't buy any maternity tops. I simply continued to wear the same jersey and knit tops I had been wearing previously, and then added to my wardrobe with a couple of non-maternity tops in a bigger size, or with brands that had extra long styles - stuff that I could wear after my pregnancy. I've found Gap particularly good for this (plus they always have great sales with lots of jersey - see top photo and also here) and All Saints, who tend to favour longer lines in their tees and tops.
|2010, 24 weeks pregnant - wearing a knit from All Saints. (One of the very few photos I have of me pregnant second time around!)|
5: DON'T BUY: Maternity lounge wear, pyjamas, sweat pants etc. Again, not unless you really need them. During both my previous pregnancies I've continued to wear my existing PJs, sweats etc. right up until the end.
6: DO: Accentuate your bump. For me (being quite tall, and - seriously - big boned), wearing anything that doesn't accentuate my bump makes me look about 6 sizes larger than I am. Maxi dresses, empire lines and a-lines are a definite no-no for me. Even fabrics which have no stretch (woven cotton, thicker cotton knits) are out for me as they simply drape across the top of my (larger) breasts and bump and create a tent-like effect which is far from flattering.
Finally, there are plenty of high street stores now doing decent ranges of maternity wear. They are great places to start your maternity wardrobe and then if there's something special you want from a maternity wear specialist or premium brand, you should know exactly what you like and what suits you. High street ranges to check out (in order of my preference) - H&M, Topshop, New Look and Gap. Online, check out ASOS who also have a great range.
So, experienced mamas: What do you think of my tips? What are your tips for buying maternity wear? And where's your favourite place to shop?